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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mac n Cheese

I've seen some pretty horrid mac n cheese recipes in my day, and some that are so complicated and expensive to make they just seem ridiculous. Mac n Cheese around my house is a creamy, cheesy affair between two of my favorite cheeses and pasta. I don't always use the standard large elbow pasta sometimes I use chochiglie, cavatappi or rigatoni basically it is whatever I have plenty of on hand as long as the pasta can hold the cheese sauce.
You start by making a roux. Melt 6 Tlb butter into a large saucepan. When the butter is melted and bubbly add 6 Tlb flour and a good amount of salt and pepper. Cook the flour and butter together over medium heat for a few minutes stirring as it cooks. In a very large seperate pot bring enough salted water to boil to cook 1 lb. of pasta of your choosing, but cut a few minutes off the cook time of the pasta according to the package directions.
Pour into saucepan 4 cups of warm milk and add 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp stone ground mustard. Heat white sauce until it thickens, slowly and stirring frequently so you don't burn or scorch the sauce.
When the sauce has thickened turn off the heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper and add 3 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cu. shredded mozzarella cheese. Do NOT use pre-shredded cheese you will be unhappy with the results. You can use some sharp cheddar cheese but I wouldn't make all of it sharp. Stir until all of the cheese has melted.
Drain your cooked pasta.
Place your cooked pasta back into the pan you cooked it in pour in all of the cheese sauce and stir until well incorporated. I added cubes of ham this go around because it was the main dish and not a side.
Pour into a lightly greased, oven proof pot. Isn't that a darling little blue cast iron enamel coated pot. It was a Christmas gift from the BF.
In s small bowl combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cu. of cheddar cheese and melted butter. Mix together and sprinkle on top of the mac n cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until brown and bubbly.
Leftovers? What leftovers?
A plate of homemade mac n cheese is as much a part of America as a slice of apple pie and a baseball game. It went from being a side on a blue plate special to a stand alone main with the additions of varied cheeses, vegetables and proteins. I have recipes that call for raw eggs, lump crab meat and leeks to recipes where you just add cream and grated cheese to hot pasta and bake. This recipe is my favorite and my family's favorite. It is rather basic, but it does the trick. It conjures happy memories and puts a smile on their faces and that is really all that matters.
Have a wonderful weekend.

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